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Trump: Nuclear threat from North Korea is over, you know

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It is? After a successful start to talks between the US and North Korea, Donald Trump seems eager to claim complete victory. In a tweet this morning, Trump advised the American people that they can “sleep well tonight” with the Pyongyang threat resolved:

President Trump declared Wednesday that there is “no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea” as he returned to Washington, offering a rosy assessment of a summit with the leader of a nation that still possesses nuclear weapons. …

Trump’s tweets followed a high-profile summit in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that produced a promise to “denuclearize” the Korean Peninsula but was scant on details.

His tweets came shortly after Air Force One landed at Joint Base Andrews just outside Washington.

There’s a wee problem with this victory lap, which is that we, um, still haven’t actually won anything yet. The agreement signed yesterday delivered nothing more than the remains of POWs and MIAs, plus an agreement to keep talking about denuclearization. Trump and Kim clearly discussed a process of denuclearization and verification, but until that process is complete, Kim still has his nukes and the delivery systems to launch them at the US and our allies. That threat is not just real but acute, even if it is less acute than it was three months ago.

Trump’s supporters and critics tried to rush to judgments yesterday in the wake of the post-summit declaration too. In my column for The Week, I argue that it’s way too soon to score:

Rather than see this as a first step in a process with unknown outcomes, most people appeared to rush to various conclusions: One side hailed the meeting as a historic achievement that should guarantee Trump a place in history, while the other considered it a surrender by Trump and a betrayal of our allies. In truth, very little has changed. Both sides have had an opportunity to size each other up and prepare for the next steps of the process, assuming those next steps come at all.

We have plenty of time to pass judgment on this strategy depending on the eventual outcome. Let’s not forget that the world hailed 1994’s Agreed Framework, which was supposed to halt North Korea’s power plant program, as a historic achievement at the time, only to discover that North Korea had been cheating all along and never planned to denuclearize. When attempts to tighten the inspection regime were made, it collapsed and led to the arms race that brought us to where we are today. Kim and his regime may still think they can get away with a similar ploy, which will make this week’s summit just another missed opportunity in a nuclear standoff. On the other hand, the summit managed to at least change the rhetoric between the two nations, allowing an opportunity for progress if — and it’s a big if — the Kim regime really does want to find a way out of the nuclear standoff it created with the U.S. and cannot hope to win.

But as tempting as it might seem, let’s not jump to conclusions just yet. We haven’t lost anything, but we also haven’t yet solved the problem. Trump himself noted that, in six months, he may very well wind up with egg on his face if Kim backtracks or refuses to commit to verifiable denuclearization. Given the history of the Kim regime, it pays to be skeptical, but not close-minded. It certainly doesn’t pay to declare victory just yet.

Trump should take more care than most on this point. The history of our dealings with Pyongyang contains mostly reversals on pledges by the Kim regime and balks at verification. The fact that they have nuclear weapons now stands as a testament to another supposed “win” for one of Trump’s predecessors, the Agreed Framework deal cut by Bill Clinton in 1994. That was another peace-in-our-time moment with North Korea that wound up leaving egg on our collective faces. The Kim regime will not give up its nuclear weapons easily, and claiming that the threat is over after a single meeting is naive at best.

If one believes the North Koreans, the process for eliminating the nuclear threat will be slow and contentious:

North Korea’s state-run media is framing the agreements reached at the Singapore summit as a “step-by-step” process intended to bring U.S. rewards in exchange for gradual moves by Pyongyang to dismantle its nuclear program.

The account Wednesday in the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper could signal the first rift with President Trump over the perceived way forward with the North’s leader, Kim Jong Un. The extensive and — by North Korean standards — speedy coverage also suggested an attempt to set the post-summit narrative of the vaguely worded declaration signed by Kim and Trump. …

The overall message appeared mostly aimed at North Koreans, portraying Kim as setting the terms of the post-summit framework and at the helm of further policy shifts away from emphasis on the nuclear arsenal — which Kim long called the nation’s “treasured sword.”

“Kim Jong Un is showing that he is not succumbing to external pressure, but carrying out denuclearization based on his own plan and vision,” said Lee Jong-seok, a North Korea expert at Seoul’s Sejong Institute, a government-affiliated think tank.

It is imperative for the Kim regime to show that any nuclear rollbacks were voluntary and not the subject of demands and threats from the United States, he noted.

Even if Kim has agreed to actually denuclearize, that decision could change depending on the fraught internal politics of the regime. It will be a long, long time before we can say that the nuclear threat from North Korea no longer exists, if indeed we ever can. And we’ll need a lot more verification of that than just a few presidential tweets, too.

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New York Times on latest Scott Pruitt “scandal”: Never mind

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When we were recently discussing the Washington Post’s fervent desires to somehow see EPA administrator Scott Pruitt impeached, I provided a roundup of some of the latest “scandals” which have been run up the flagpole. That list only brought us up to Lunchgate, however, and another one slipped past me. (They come up with scandals over there so quickly that nobody can possibly keep track.) In just the past few days the New York Times turned in some additional crackerjack reporting claiming that Pruitt has been abusing the goodwill of his staff and employing his influence as a cabinet member to land his daughter a spot in the University of Virginia Law School.

While perhaps not technically illegal, that’s still dirty pool. Children of powerful government executives shouldn’t get a leg up and a free pass to prestigious schools at any level while regular citizens sweat it out hoping to land a spot for their own kids. (Right President Obama and Michelle?) We can’t allow Scott Pruitt to use his position as a Cabinet member to gain special perks for his family. This is an outrage! Somebody needs to get to the bottom of this and…

Wait a minute. What’s that you say, New York Times? Nevermind? (Emphasis added)

An article on Saturday about senior staff members at the Environmental Protection Agency who said they frequently felt pressured by Scott Pruitt to help in nonwork matters included an item that erroneously described Mr. Pruitt’s use of his position for personal matters. While a Virginia lawmaker, William Howell, said he wrote a letter of recommendation to the University of Virginia Law School on behalf of Mr. Pruitt’s daughter, McKenna, he actually wrote it while Mr. Pruitt was the attorney general of Oklahoma. After publication of the article, additional research by a legislative aide, Mr. Howell said, showed he had incorrectly stated the date of the letter, which he said was actually written on Nov. 1, 2016, more than three months before Mr. Pruitt was confirmed as E.P.A. administrator, in February 2017. The law school, which had declined to comment for the article because of privacy concerns, issued a statement on Saturday saying Ms. Pruitt had given the school permission to confirm that she had been offered early admission in late November 2016 and that the “application was evaluated according to our usual admissions procedures.”

I see. Pruitt’s daughter had gotten her letter confirming early admission months before Donald Trump was even sworn into office. I would have brought this to all of your attention earlier but it took a while to find it. You see, while the news of the original “scandal” was plastered all over page 1 in the Times, this correction showed up at the bottom of page A-17. It was melded in with a correction to the caption under a photograph from somebody’s funeral. (I’m not even kidding.)

Well, mistakes happen, right? Some day we’ll all look back on this and laugh, I’m sure. It will be hilarious, just like that fun-filled time last summer when the Gray Lady reported that Pruitt had taken a secret meeting with the head of Dow Chemicals. (It was some spot on, incisive reporting except for the fact that they later admitted the meeting never happened.) Or that laugh riot from a couple of months ago when the Times reported that a member of Pruitt’s inner circle had been seen out drinking with the EPA Inspector General. (A story which was absolutely accurate, except for the part about the member of Pruitt’s inner circle being out drinking with the EPA Inspector General.)

Good times all, and we shall no doubt remember them fondly down the road. And besides, who among us hasn’t been tracking the Cabinet official we’re trying to paint as being under a cloud of scandal and suspicion and made the odd mistake over and over and over and over and over again?

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FBI Director Wray Praises Mueller “I Do Not Believe Special Counsel Mueller is on a Witch Hunt” (VIDEO)

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FBI Director Christopher Wray testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday on the IG report’s findings of the Clinton email investigation.

Christopher Wray told Senator Leahy (D-VT) that Robert Mueller’s investigation is ‘not a witch hunt.’

FBI Director Wray once again proves he serves the Deep State swamp rather than the interests of the American people.

FBI Director Christopher Wray held a press conference last Thursday afternoon from the FBI headquarters in DC following the release of the IG report was released.

Wray defended the swamp; he said the IG report “did not find any evidence of political bias or improper considerations actually impacting the investigation under review.”

On Monday, the FBI Director praised Mueller and said the dirty cop is not on a witch hunt.

Truly disgusting.

VIDEO:

We shouldn’t be surprised as Wray defended the corrupt officials in the FBI brass last week in a disgraceful press conference.

Americans are disgusted after reading more anti-Trump text messages from FBI agents.

What a disgrace.
The top officials at the FBI and DOJ hated Donald Trump and his supporters.

The Deep State hacks called Trump supporters: F***ing Idiots, Sad, Pathetic, Retarded.

Chris Wray told reporters there was “no evidence of political bias.”
This is the same FBI that had spies inside the Trump campaign and continued to spy on President-elect Trump after his election and inauguration.
And the FBI spy infiltrating the Trump campaign openly advocated for Hillary Clinton during the election.

According to Wray, there’s no political bias and Mueller is not on a witch hunt despite KGB tactics of breaking down doors and raiding anyone connected to the president without even naming the crime.

Wray needs to go.

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Study: The states with the most psychopaths seem to be blue

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Why on Earth would we talk about a Social Science Research Center study like this? The real question is… how could we not?

Reported at QZ, this new study by Southern Methodist University Professor Ryan Murphy correlated a bunch of data which I can’t make heads or tails of and figured out how psychopathic the residents of every state are. He was looking at the “levels of big five personality traits” (extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience) in each state. These apparently correlate with other traits which identify psychopathic tendencies. To put it mildly, the news was not good for the blue states.

Sometimes, it can feel like there are psychopaths everywhere. If you live in the United States, it’s now possible to move to less psychopathic environs, thanks to new research ranking 48 contiguous states by psychopathy.

Connecticut wins the dubious award of most psychopathic state in the US, followed by California in second, and New Jersey third. New York and Wyoming tie for joint fourth place, followed by Maine. The least psychopathic state is West Virginia, followed by Vermont, Tennessee, North Carolina, and New Mexico…

Earlier research shows that psychopathy is composed of disinhibition, boldness, and meanness, and a forthcoming paper shows that these characteristics can be translated into the big five traits.

I’m still not sure how things like “meanness” and disinhibition translate over to characteristics typical of psychopaths, but then, I only lasted for a few classes in pre-med. It’s still interesting to note that while the five states with the highest psychopath rating were almost entirely blue states in the northeast (plus California), the least psychopathic ones were in red (or at least reddish purple) areas. Who would have guessed that West Virginia would be the best location, particularly if you’ve ever watched the movies based in that region?

Oh, there was one more kicker to the study results. You might have been wondering where the District of Columbia landed. The answer is that it’s not on the list because it rang up a psychopath rating that was off the charts but was disqualified due to mitigating circumstances. (Emphasis added)

Murphy also included the District of Columbia in his research, and found it had a psychopathy level far higher than any other state. But this finding is an outlier, as Murphy notes, as it’s an entirely urban area and cannot be fairly compared with larger, more geographically diverse, US states. That said, as Murphy notes, “The presence of psychopaths in District of Columbia is consistent with the conjecture found in Murphy (2016) that psychopaths are likely to be effective in the political sphere.”

So if you’re looking for the highest concentration of psychopaths in the country, head to Washington, D.C. Apparently they have more of them than you can shake a stick at and the majority are working “in the political sphere.”

C’mon, man. You’re not going to sit there and tell me you’re surprised.

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